42d ECS EF-111a Ravens Model
Fly with the 42d ECS in this hand crafted EF-111A model. Each piece is carved from wood and hand painted to provide a piece you’ll love. 18 inches
Established under VIII Bomber Command, Continental Air Forces as a very long-range strategic reconnaissance squadron. Equipped with B-29 Superfortress bombers converted into F-13 reconnaissance/mapping configuration. Was designated to operate from Alaska, however squadron suffered from lack of personnel due to demobilization after the end of World War II, never became fully operational and was inactivated in August 1946.
Cold War Reactivated as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe in March, 1954 at Spangdahlem AB, West Germany. Equipped with RB-26B Invader reconnaissance aircraft, painted in black to perform night reconnaissance which were transferred from the 1st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron when the 1st TRS received RB-57A Canberras.
RB-66C of the 42d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Chelveston[note 1]
In 1956 the B-26s were sent to reclamation and the squadron received twelve Douglas RB-66C Destroyers. The RB-66C was a specialized electronic reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures aircraft designed for jamming Soviet RADAR. Its mission was to fly with tactical fighter and fighter bomber aircraft and provide an aerial defense. An extensive suite of specialized equipment was fitted to locate and identify enemy radar emissions. Additional ECM equipment was carried in wingtip pods. Chaff dispensing pods could be carried underneath the wing outboard of the engine nacelles. In addition, it was fitted with a removable in flight refueling probe attached to the right side of the forward fuselage.
In 1959 the squadron moved to the United Kingdom as part of a USAFE realignment. Its parent 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was assigned to RAF Alconbury. A shortage of facilities at Alconbury led to the 42d being stationed at RAF Chelveston, about 20 miles west of Alconbury, where it remained as a detachment of the 10th TRW. In 1962 the runway at Chevelston was closed, and the squadron operated out of Toul-Rosieres AB, France, where it operated for a few years as Detachment 1, 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.
On 10 March 1964, a wing RB-66B took off from Toul for a mission over West Germany. Because of an equipment malfunction that was undetected by the crew, the plane continued its flight to East Germany and was shot down. The crew ejected safely, but was taken prisoner, although they were released before the end of the month. This incident prompted USAFE to institute a buffer zone, where special procedures were required for aircraft flying near the eastern border of West Germany. Starting in April 1964, thirteen of the squadron’s RB-66Bs began to be modified under Project Brown Cradle, to update their electronic warfare equipment and make other modifications. By 1965 the aircraft modification had been completed. However, the service of the Brown Cradle aircraft with the squadron was short. In December five of the aircraft deployed to Southeast Asia, and in May 1966, the remaining eight aircraft joined them. These rotational deployments to France continued until October 1965 with the activation of the 25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Chambley-Bussieres Air Base and the 42d TRS being permanently assigned to the 25th TRW. With France’s withdrawal from NATO’s integrated military organization in 1966, Chambley AB was closed and the 25th TRW was inactivated. The specially-equipped EB-66C’s of the 42d ECS and their aircrews were sent directly to Southeast Asia for use over the skies of North Vietnam and the squadron was inactivated.
Reactivated in 1968 at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base under the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. The squadron carried out electronic warfare operations over North Vietnam, locating and identifying North Vietnamese radar sites that directed missiles and AAA fire, so that strike aircraft could avoid them. The RB-66C had no offensive capability, so it could not attack the radar sites directly. Squadron were transferred to Korat RTAFB in August 1970. Continued operations until the end of hostilities in January 1973, remained in Thailand until being inactivated in March 1974.
Reactivated in 1983 with EF-111A Ravens at RAF Upper Heyford, England, the replacement for the Douglas EB-66 electronic warfare aircraft. Performed ECM operations for NATO aircraft. Provided electronic countermeasures to US Navy aircraft for combat in Libya, 15 April 1986 as part of Operation El Dorado Canyon. During that mission, the 42d ECS provided three EF-111As plus two spare aircraft to jam the Libyan radar network.
Deployed flights to Turkey and Saudi Arabia in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Shield; engaged in combat operations in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Storm. Eighteen EF-111A Ravens flew over 900 sorties. None were lost in combat, but one was lost in a non-combat related accident and both crew members were killed. The 42d ECS was even credited with a “kill” during Desert Storm. On the night of 17 January 1991, an Iraqi Mirage F.1 flew into the ground while chasing EF-111A serial number 66-0016. Even though the Raven was unarmed and had no air-to-air capability, the Raven crew was given credit for the kill.
Inactivated in 1992 as part of the post Cold War drawdown of the USAF, its aircraft reassigned to the 429th ECS at Cannon AFB, New Mexico.
In 1994, the squadron was reactivated and received the Personnel and Aircraft from the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron which specifically provided procedural air control via the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC). The 7th ACCS ‘flag’ was moved to Offutt AFB, NE and assumed a new mission, the Airborne Command Post (ABNCP) “Looking Glass” mission in support of nuclear command and control for United States Strategic Command, as part of this mission, the 7th ACCS began flying EC-135 aircraft.
The EC-130E ABCCC consisted of seven aircraft that were used as an Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center. The EC-130E is a modified C-130 “Hercules”; aircraft designed to carry the USC-48 Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center Capsules (ABCCC III). While functioning as a direct extension of ground-based command and control authorities, the primary mission was to provide flexibility in the overall control of tactical air resources. In addition, to maintain positive control of air operations, ABCCC provided communications to higher headquarters, including national command authorities, in both peace and wartime environments.
The ABCCC provided unified and theater commanders the capability for combat operations during war, contingencies, exercises, and other missions. A highly trained force of mission ready crew members and specially equipped EC-130E aircraft to support worldwide combat operations. Mission roles include airborne extensions of the Air Operations Center (AOC) and Airborne Air Support Operations Center (ASOC) for command and control of Offensive Air Support (OAS) operations; and airborne on-scene command for special operations such as airdrops or evacuations.
In 2002, following 6+ years of continuous deployed operations (1994-2000) in the Balkans Area of Operations, the squadron was inactivated and the aircraft retired.
It was reactivated in 2006 as part of the Global War on Terror in order to provide training for EC-130E Compass Call squadrons at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Since 2006, the 42nd has served as the ‘schoolhouse’ squadron for the 41st and 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron(s).